Anderson .Paak - Malibu
Released: January 15
His lyricism is dynamic throughout. Properly mixed portions of funky soul and hip hop advance his art beyond the typical noise pushed by other contemporaries. Malibu is filled with storytelling and unique characteristics, such as, paying homage to sound-scapes of the past while simultaneously carving out something fresh. There are too many dope tracks to name them all, just go listen to it.
Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter
Released: March 25
Margo had previously made my honorable mention. Her album has since become a staple—purchasing Midwest Farmer's Daughter on vinyl was paramount to my revelation. The first track, "Hands of Time," and the final cut, "World's Greatest Loser," are painful stories from her personal life. Both of those songs haunt, spilling almost too much truth. The honky-tonk number, "Hurt'n (On The Bottle)," is a tale most of us can relate to. Thanks for keeping country 100.
Frank Ocean - blond
Released: August 20
Random notes as I continued to absorb this record: I can't stop listening to it. It makes me consider myself; the what-ifs and what am I's. In sharing his world, he reveals how disconnected we are. The real shit, personal and intimate. It's beautiful and a little scary. He presses into the soul, heart and mind...the interludes, snippets of reality and manufactured minimalism of the sound intensify his honesty. Ocean affirms the grandeur of love, it's power to uplift or tear down, the value of it being returned. The personal intimacy of this album isn't draped in camouflage. Thanks Frank.
Banks & Steelz - Anything but Words
Released: August 26th
Paul Banks from Interpol and RZA make a unique duo to say the least. I seem to stand in the minority, but I really dig this record. I previously reviewed this album. My partner in crime and I caught their live performance the day after Anything But Words had dropped. Bobby Digital has gone steel.
"Point of View"
Phantogram - Three
Released: October 7
Phantogram's latest record delights on first listen. Three stimulates with it's rhythmic and modern pulse, it makes you listen with its words. The single gets all the air-time, but make no mistake, the B-side's where it's at. "You're Mine," and "Answer," are tracks that skillfully tether sonic elements to the bang of sharp lyrics. Other highlights include, "Cruel World," "Run Run Blood," and "Calling All." Pip also loves this record, which means, it rocks.
A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here...Thank you 4 your service
Released: November 11
ATCQ captives and educates us once again. Enlightened minds make inspiring art, hopefully their message resonates with you. From the jump, they bring the heat. "Space Program," (with it's sick ass sample of the real cinematic Wonka) and "We the People," punch with straightforward truth. Shaheed blends Elton John remnants into, "Solid Wall of Sound," he crushes the beats throughout. "Black Spasmodic," jabs at you, setting up the hard hitting accuracy of, "The Killing Season." Kendrick and .Paak follow each other on songs that shine later on. The finale, "The Donald," features sick mixing and wordplay, it may also be too real to be true. We Got It From Here... fills two discs with pure hip hop genius and a grip of guest spots. I'm truly thankful for this record. RIP Phife.
"We the People" | Official Video
My personal favorites from 2016 include those listed above, as well as, the albums I reviewed earlier this year. Check out So Far So Good for the complete list. The BESTY's, an annual account of my favorite live performances, are coming soon. Thanks for tuning in.
Second-half honorable mentions include: M.I.A. - AIM, Lewis Del Mar - self titled, Twin Limb - Haplo,